The cousins by Karen M. McManus

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Another easy-to-read compulsive thriller from McManus will be welcomed by her fans. Author of the best-selling One of us is lying, McManus is a master at writing mysteries that are very hard to put down. This time, three cousins Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are invited to work for the summer on the island resort of their rich grandmother, whom they have never seen. She had disinherited their parents before they were born so it is very surprising to hear from her.  When they arrive, it is clear that she doesn’t welcome them and the longer they stay the more they learn about their family and the secrets their parents have harboured for years.

The book is written in alternative chapters in the voice of the three cousins and their backgrounds and personalities are easy to follow, while at the same time, many questions about why their parents were disinherited are raised. Readers will be tantalised by the information revealed in the chapters by 18-year-old Allison, mother of Milly, and wonder if murder has been committed and if so by the parents of the cousins.

The class divisions between the very rich Story family and the towns people, the mansions and holiday homes, parties on the beach and a Gala all form a background that adds depth to the story. The characters are equally as richly described, and it was easy to sympathise with each of the cousins as their strengths, flaws and vulnerabilities are revealed.

I read this in one sitting, eager to find out why the cousins’ parents were disinherited, trying to guess what happened and totally satisfied with the stunning ending.

Themes: Mystery and suspense.

Pat Pledger